Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mekaylah Gilbert, Founder of Muse Conservatory of Dance, located in Nashville, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Muse Enterprises, dba Muse Conservatory of Dance, is a fast-growing female and black-owned dance company intentional about exposing black and brown dancers to proper training in a safe, supportive environment. Our target audience is any student desiring to learn an appreciation for dance. We find that children don’t move just for fun anymore.
They don’t have an understanding of what their bodies are capable of and how it is already a work of art. While our regular classes are focused on students ages 2-18, we also offer specialty classes that help adults reconnect with their bodies and movement in fun modalities, such as birthday parties, fitness classes, girl’s night out events, or pop-up classes!
Tell us about yourself
Our owner was classically trained in more than six genres of dance as a child, and along her dance journey, she saw the scarcity of dancers that looked like her, and if there were minority dancers, there were little to no opportunities for them. Thus her motivation was born. At 19 years old, she opened the Muse Conservatory of Dance (MCD). Muse means a source of inspiration, and that is what our dancers are to us and what we hope our company is to them, inspiration to break barriers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment thus far has been our ability to assist our dance families in raising confident girls on and off the dance floor. We strive to not only train them to be phenomenal dancers and entertainers but also to be good people in the world. Aside from dance training, our dancers give back to their communities through community service.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is learning business is not personal. Setting strategic goals and building the business towards meeting those helps to keep everything focused. While every client/student/family is given utmost respect and care, in order to grow and scale the business, we recognize the importance of staying focused.
Additionally, prepping our dancers to understand that although we wish that the dance business can be rainbows and tutu’s all the time, they are minority dancers, and it’s not the easiest task to be a minority dancer. Through dancers like Misty Copeland or Michaela DePrince, we have shown them that the path is long and hard but worth it!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Find your muse. An entrepreneur without passion is like a car without gas. The passion will be your fuel to get you through the toughest of times. Take the risk. Entrepreneurship is a risk in itself, and there are even more risks along the way. Know that there will be moments of fear and apprehensiveness, but do it, scared!
Take those risks and understand that growth comes from leaps of faith. Believe in yourself. Your belief in yourself is what will propel you to the stars as a business owner. There is no better feeling than the love you give to yourself.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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